From board games to mobile applications, today there are a host of fun programs designed to make your romantic relationship healthier, or even spice it up. And it might actually work, as an American psychologist reveals. The latter developed an application of this type and tested it on more than 400 couples, who emerged more strengthened, connected, and satisfied.
Can love withstand time, everyday problems, even major upheavals? If it is impossible to provide a general answer to this vast question, it seems more likely to try to clean up, or even improve, one’s romantic relationship to make it withstand this type of ordeal. While some favor couples therapy to achieve this, others are now turning to more accessible, and sometimes even more fun, methods. We saw this recently with an Advent calendar specifically designed to ease tensions and (re)connect with others, but there are also a host of mobile applications developed for the same purpose.
An app exclusively based on couple relationships
This is precisely the subject of the research of Ronald Rogge, associate professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, in the United States, who co-developed with Khadesha Okwudili, a former student of the same university, an application exclusively based on the couple’s relationship. “Our primary goal was to create an app that couples would inherently love to use, that would naturally grow in popularity, and thus expand its reach organically.“, underlines Ronald Rogge, who has worked on the issue of romantic relationships and families for almost thirty years, in a press release.
The application in question, entitled Agapé, is the result of personal reflection on the part of Khadesha Okwudili. Suffering from a serious disorder, the young woman decides to open up more to those around her for fear of dying. “Over time, I realized that even though my health was deteriorating, my relationships were beginning to flourish like never before“, she explains. Result: a relationship application with thousands of questions designed for a wide range of couples. Published in the Journal of Family Psychology, the pilot study carried out on this program today shows that it has allowed a majority of couples to significantly improve their relationship, in just one month of use.
80% of participants observed an improvement in their romantic relationship
This work was carried out with 405 couples, mainly heterosexual (91%) and aged between 20 and 30 (84%), whose relationship dated on average 4.6 years. Most of the ‘tested’ couples were generally satisfied with their romantic relationship, but almost a third were not at all satisfied. The object was therefore simply to experiment with this application which sends registered couples daily questions, including “What did your partner do last week that made you laugh?“, “Describe a time when you were grateful to have your partner by your side“, or “What unique skills might your partner have to survive a zombie apocalypse?“. The idea being to allow both partners to respond, then to allow them to see the other’s response, in order to… communicate.
The results of this experiment seem clear, since 80% of the participants observed an improvement in their romantic relationship. Not only did those affected report a decrease in perceived flaws, or negative characteristics, in their relationship, but they also noted an increase in satisfaction and commitment in their relationship. That’s not all, as seven out of ten participants reported an improvement in their well-being and a reduction in depressive symptoms. The two researchers also specify that the couples most invested in the application, who therefore answered more questions, are those who noted a greater improvement in their relationship.
Communicating calmly remains the basis
Although this is only a pilot study, the two authors, who are also – let us point out – shareholders of the company behind the application, are delighted with these first results. They are already considering extending it to family and friendly relationships. “Using the app with more people in your life is likely to have even greater individual benefits, because we know that connecting with others is a basic psychological need“, concludes Ronald Rogge.
Whether you use this application or one of the many others that exist on this issue, the results of this work show above all the importance of opening the discussion and communicating in calm, far from the tumult of everyday life.